I've been quiet, period. I spent a week in New York, which was great--it actually helped me find a couple potential work leads, which is great (and unexpected), and seeing Angela after three months was quite a relief. (She visits me again in a month.) My friend Rickey died (more here), the day after I turned 34; it's awful and it comes in waves, probably will for a long time. Before and after, not not many assignments, little money coming in, frugality-a-go-go.
Up until about a week ago, anyway. I have picked up a couple CDs for some research into a project I want to pursue: R.E.M.'s Reckoning and the dB's Like This, neither especially impressive on one play each. (I knew the R.E.M. in parts; I have a fuzzy recollection of having taped Like This off LP, maybe I found it at Cheapo on Lake Street or something, but otherwise nada.) And a week and change before, I'd picked up the Paul's Boutique reissue. (I got the PB Audio Commentary MP3 from BeastieBoys.com as well, got through about eight minutes, and that'll do, thanks.
Four days ago, I idly noticed I had most of my downloads left on eMusic for the month. I decided to see how long I had: till the 24th. (They refreshed today.) My new habits have carried so far that I barely download anything now. I was actually relieved the other day when the Forced Exposure package arrived with six CDs. Finally, I thought, something new to listen to--all the while having something like 300 different blog pages sitting on a Word file, ready to be ticked off one by one, and an equal number of download-ready publicist emails sitting in folders labeled "Digital promos," none of which I've touched, unlike the blog posts, which I've at least cherry-picked at various points since '09 began.
Recently I wondered if I'd lost interest in music. I now realize that what I'm disinterested in new music as an end in itself. That's nothing new, of course--most sensible people start feeling that way long before they turn 34. I do think more and more, though, it's not me, it's music. I could be cute and point out how much of what I like right now that's "current" really isn't: J. Period & Q-Tip's The (Abstract) Best Vol. 1, an old-man-rap catnip free mixtape, or DJ Koze's new remix compilation, or Clipse doing what they've been doing forever, or revisiting my own year-end oldies comp (the best mix I've ever made), or falling head-over-heels again for Franco's "Limbisa Ngai" (please, Ken Braun, include this on Francophonic Vol. 2), not to mention "Lisolo ya Adamo na Nzambe," the next-to-last track from Francophonic Vol. 1, which has some of the most floridly dynamic interplay I've ever heard between voices and instruments, and yet never stops swaying light and nimble. If I'm lucky enough to find the kind of work where I can listen to music, maybe I'll just chuck everything and listen to Franco.
Not yet, though. I've got a mile of music to get through. Thank god! Clearing the path is one thing, but cleaning it up completely has helped, I think, worsen my mood lately. Because one of the pleasures of making new music my livelihood is that it can heighten my alertness to everything else. Letting my list of URLs, not to mention two email addresses' "digital promos" folders, pile up is not working that great either. (I still haven't downloaded that new Thermals single, FFS.)
But when I was looking for something that had charted that I was curious to write about, I Hype Machined it and came across a blog I see a lot through that--one that puts up MP3s that I am consistently curious about. I have never bookmarked or linked it. I can't even remember what it's called, all of a day afterward. I never remember it. OK, fine: I deliberately forget it. Because everytime I'm there I download everything I can get my hands on. And that's what I did yesterday--seven or eight MP3s. Even more so than when dealing with MP3 blogs normally, this felt like grabbing candy and running. Especially because the cop I was running from was myself--this blog's imperative. Very enjoyable feeling--sometimes you don't find music to listen to because you want to approach it responsibly, like homework, you want it to feel hotter, more illicit, even if in experiential terms, it's anything but. That routinized feeling is what I started this blog to combat.
Anyway. eMusic. I had over 200 downloads left for the month and decided to go berserk. I also downloaded some other things from other places because why not? Sometimes not having a logjam in front of you allows you to drive. But if you don't have a direction and could really use one, it can feel like the desert. Here's what I've got to get through. Wish me luck.
Sin Fang Bous, Clangour
Senegal 70 - Musical Effervescence
Prefuse 73, Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian; Savath y Savalas, La Llama; Diamond Watch Wrists, Ice Capped at Both Ends (all new Scott Herren titles)
Lux and Ivy's Favorites - Volume 01 (eleven volumes here--thanks, Douglas; who knows, maybe I should just grab the rest too and put 'em in the pile)
Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel, Willie and the Wheel
U2, No Line on the Horizon
Thomas Mapfumo, two very early albums
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Blind Blake, Ragtime Guitar's Foremost Fingerpicker
Big Star, #1 Record/Radio City (not new to me, but I'm curious to hear it again)
The Young Big Bill Broonzy
Bernarda Fink & Roger Vignoles, Brahms Lieder (classical music! weird. thanks, Tom Moon)
Bad Brains, I Against I (re-downloaded, but I don't know this well at all)
Baaba Maal & Mansour Seck, Djam Leelii
Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section (another re-download)
50 Cent, I'm Rising to the Top (convinced by Jayson Greene's hilarious eMusic review)
Diego Bernal, For Corners